Search billions of records on

Ships from Scotland to America: 1628-1828by David Dobson. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 1998. 127 pp. Hardcover $20 plus $3.50 p&h.

The book provides a two page overview of emigration from Scotland to North America. This introduction acknowledges that there was shipping from Scotland to North America before 1628, as early as 1600, but that these were trading voyages. The British government did not keep registers of emigrants, except for the period 1773 to 1774 and again at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. In both time periods the records were very poorly kept. Emigrants could and often were leaving from many small harbors around the coastline where local government officials were not present to record their departure.

The people did leave Scotland. This book is an attempt to identify the ships that brought them to Canada and the United States. The book is based on research into contemporary newspapers, government records and a small number of published sources on both sides of the Atlantic.

All the entries are in alphabetical order by the name of the ship, they are fully cited, and vary greatly in length but a typical entry reads:

ALBANY OF GLASGOW, master John Gemmell, arrived in Upper District, James River, Virginia, from Greenock 26.6.1738. [VG#106]; master J. Lyon, arrived in the Lower James River, Virginia, from Glasgow 4.5.1739. [VG#158]; master Joseph Tucker, arrived in the James River 4.6.1767 from Glasgow via Barbados, [Purdie's Gaz. #837]

The ships captain's or prominent passengers are often mentioned in the text but these are not indexed. Knowing the ship can provide clues to the origins of the immigrants they carried. This is a useful tool for Scottish researchers.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.5 no.3, 1998